Riding Through Sin City
Riding through the Sin City
With the Joshua trees in the roadster’s rear view mirrors, only Sin City itself, Las Vegas, lies ahead. As experienced travelers to the area, the Rau’s stay off the strip but still comfortably close to all the action at the Rio Las Vegas. It’s only a five-minute cab ride to the strip, but the prices are better.
Another word to the wise — avoiding the Las Vegas weekends can save you additional time in traffic and hundreds of dollars at hotels. In fact, the chocolate-brown Spyder RT rolls neatly into the Rio parking lot, with nary a traffic snare in sight.
While the neon Vegas night churns around them, the only thought on the Rau’s mind is dinner and then sleep. Getting a proper night’s rest means everything when there’s a full day or riding ahead. With the day finally over, the riding gear removed and hot dinner in the near future, Cherrie reflects on everything she saw and everything she hopes to see.
“The road never gets old,” Cherrie says, now running off sheer adrenaline and excitement. “At the end of the day, you’ve accomplished something, and you’re excited to get up and do it all over again.” With that, the Rau’s gather their bags and make their way through the casino to the check-in counter.
Five hundred miles down, only 9,500 or so to go.
Fred and Cherrie ride through scenic Valley of Fire State Park.
After fueling up at the Rio’s all-you-can-eat buffet in the early morning, the Rau’s embark on the second day of their tour. The scenery turns out to be every bit as spectacular as the day before. The route from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah is a memorable one, especially when you take the correct detours. Specifically, catching glimpses of Lake Meade on the way to the memorable Valley of Fire State Park. The lake’s water is the deep blue usually only found in paintings or memories. It sets the stage for the sun-kissed landscape to come. Inside the Valley of Fire, the most lovely dead end road in the country leads to White Dome, a cream-colored rock structure deep within the park.
“Valley of Fire is off the beaten path, but it’s the most beautiful place on earth,” Fred says. “Everyone has seen it, they just don’t realize it. It’s one of the most photographed places on earth for car television commercials. Virtually every time you go there, you’ll see GM, or Ford or someone there filming their vehicles. You can’t describe it until you’ve seen it.”
Inside the Valley of Fire State Park near White Dome.
It’s that lasting image that will stay with the Rau’s as they embark on what turns out to be the most grueling portion of their entire journey. The ride from Valley of Fire to St. George goes through wide open spaces and mountain canyons, windy on a normal day to be sure, but especially on this day. Gusts reach upwards of 70 mph as Fred battles the elements for miles and miles. But for a rider as prepared as Fred, it doesn’t present too big an obstacle. A good night’s sleep goes a long way in preparing for a full day of riding — as does well-fitting equipment.
Everything Fred and Cherrie have on, whether it’s the helmet, riding suit or boots, have made many trips before. A tour is no time to try out new equipment. You should be using the high-quality, BRP-approved equipment that fits and is comfortable.
“500 miles out on the road is not the time to discover your new helmet is giving you a headache,” Fred says.
The wind rivals what they felt in the San Gorgonio Valley. Fred battles the wind by turning slightly into it, and once again, the Spyder’s VSS kicks in to handle the gusts. He makes use of truck stops to take a rest. On the road, safety is always the top priority.
“I’m fine riding in it, but I just have to make sure I give my arms a break,” Fred says.
After an intense day touring, Fred and Cherrie arrive in scenic St. George, the setting sun reflecting off the gorgeous red rocks. Here, they’ll spend the weekend at a motorcycle rally before continuing their journey. It’s a rare break for a couple that values time riding over anything else.
“I live in the moment and enjoy every experience,” Cherrie says. “It’s just you, the road and limitless possibilities.”
That said, both Cherrie and Fred look like they’re ready for bed once again. The unpacking is a bit slower than usual; the friendly banter is kept to a minimum. But bring up Monday’s ride, when the tour resumes, and the twinkle in Fred’s eyes returns in a flash.
“We’ve been doing this since 1970, and we’ve been hooked ever since,” Fred says. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than on the Spyder.”
Another 500 miles down. A lifetime of riding still ahead.
A lifetime of enjoyable touring awaits Spyder roadster owners.